I was recently working on the backlog of Calvary Cemetery photos that I snapped last summer and fall. Sometimes while at the cemetery, I get so intent on making sure I get a decent shot (is the sun too high and casting shadows? are my batteries dying? how can I get the best contrast?) that I sometimes do not recognize that I’ve found someone I am related to. I then go through the photos weeks and months later after downloading them from my cameras and say to myself “holy Toledo–I think I’m related.”

So, here are my latest discoveries. I found a “new” child of Michał Mruk and Margaretha Plenzler as well as a daughter of Joseph Erdman and Marianna Przybylski. Margaretha was a a sibling to my great-grandfather, Joseph Plenzler. She and Michał had emigrated to the US 1884. Marianna was a daughter of my great-grandparents, Andrezj and Francziska Rochowiak, and I had located her daughter Eleanor Jaroszewski.

When I did the original research on the Mruk family, I had located a manifest for the ship Rhaetia sailing from Hamburg that listed the Mruk family: Michał and Margaretha and children Tekla, Stanislaus, Kazmierz, Marianne, and a name written as Kath.a. I was unsure who this last child listed on the manifest was. I searched for a Katarzyna, Katherina, and other variants of the name Catherine or Katarzyna but had no luck. In the back of my mind, I thought the child died during or after the voyage as the 1900 census that enumerates the Mruk family indicates that of the marriage, 16 children were born and 9 were surviving. Below are the manifest and the 1900 census. (Click to open in a new browser window and enlarge.)

Image

1884 Manifest from Hamburg Mruk Family

Mruk Family 1900 Census

Mruk Family 1900 Census

Looking at the scanned manifest, it appears as if “Kath.a.” is struck off the manifest but it’s difficult to tell if it was a deliberate edit or damage due to folding and age of the sheet. While that first indicated to me the possibility that the child did not survive the voyage, the data on the 1900 census really did not provide me with confirmation either way–if the child survived or died.  She was not listed in the 1900 census for the Mruk family and I was unable to locate her in any census data that I reviewed within the Toledo area. “Kath.a.” is indicated as having been born about 1880, so she was four years old at the time of the voyage per the manifest. In 1900, she was about 20 years old and of age to marry or perhaps obtain work as a domestic somewhere else.

The eldest Mruk child that I can verify is Tekla, born in 1873. Her parents were married in November 1866, so there is a span of about seven years without children. More on Tekla is here. But the 1900 census data is interesting to note that Margaretha reported that she had a total of 16 children with 9 surviving. This means that several children were born to the Mruks died in Poland prior to the Mruk family’s emigration. I have been able to verify that two children, Joseph and Michael had died prior to the 1900 census. Michael had been born in Wiorek on 30 September 1881, baptized 02 October 1881. We also have a death date for him, note that the baptismal record from Wiorek has a cross in front of the record, this is a common indication used by priests that the child had died. Go to the second page of the record and notice that there is a note that says “obit. 12/7/82.” So Michael died at about the age of 3 months. Joseph was born in Toledo on 3 March 1896 and died on 13 September 1896.

I had little else to work with for “Kath.a.” until I had come across the gravestones for a Kathryn and George Staniszewski.

George Staniszewski, Calvary gravestone photo

George Staniszewski, Calvary Cemetery gravestone photo

Kathryn Staniszewski, Calvary gravestone photo

Kathryn Staniszewski, Calvary Cemetery gravestone photo

I looked at the dates of death on the stones and knew it would be a bit troublesome to verify the exact date of death because Ohio death certificates are only available from about 1903 through 1953 and past experience had told me that locating data within the Social Security death index has been spotty during the 1950s decade–often due to the fact that many elderly who died during that period likely had not obtained a Social Security Number. Additionally, I’ve noticed quite a few transcription errors with the Ohio death index on familysearch.org. So, I got lucky and found birth and marriage records for a Stanley Staniszewski whose parents were George Staniszewski and Kate Mruk. I thought immediately “Voila!” Stanley was born in 1903. I then located another child whose parents were George Staniszewski and Kate Mruk–this child was named John and he was born in 1902. So, digging into George a bit further, I learned via the 1910 census that he did not emigrate to the US until 1900. I suspect it would have been in the second half of the year 1900 because the census for 1900 was taken in June of that year and I was unable to locate a 1900 census that mentioned George.

I have not yet found a marriage record of George and Kate, but logic tells us that they would have married sometime between late 1900 to about early 1902.

Further investigation (all of about 10 minutes!) led me to Kate (Kathryn’s) obituary and it confirms she was indeed a child of Michał and Margaretha as it provides names of her surviving brothers (Martin and Jack, also known as John Jacob) and sister (Praxeda, also known as Priscilla) Gurzynski. See the obituary below, published 12 October 1965.

Kathryn Staniszewski Toledo Blade Obituary 12 October 1965

Kathryn Staniszewski Toledo Blade Obituary 12 October 1965

Obituary transcription below:

Kathryn Staniszewski

Mrs. Kathryn Staniszewski, 86, of 2626 Midwood Ave., died yesterday in her home.

Born in Poland, Mrs. Staniszewski lived in Toledo most of her life. She was a member of the Polish National Alliance.

Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Charlotte Clark; sons, John and Stanley, all of Toledo, and Walter, of Clackamas, Ore.; sister, Mrs. Priscilla Gurzynski, and brothers, Martin and Jack Mruk, all of Toledo, and one granddaughter.

Services will be Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in Gesu Church, with burial in Calvary Cemetery. The Rosary will be recited at 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. tomorrow in the Sujkowski Mortuary.

The second discovery I made within my photo backlog was for Eleanor Erdman Jaroszewski. I knew she had married Conrad Jaroszewski but I did not realize I had found their grave until going through my photos. Conrad had been married prior to Eleanor, to a woman named Helen Sabiniewicz. Conrad and Helen had a son named Thadeus. The photo of the family grave plot is below.

Jaroszewski Family Calvary gravestone photo

Jaroszewski Family Calvary Cemetery gravestone photo

Helen’s parents, Jozef and Josephine, are on the opposite side of the stone. See below.

Jozef and Josephine Sabiniewicz, Calvary gravestone photo

Jozef and Josephine Sabiniewicz, Calvary Cemetery gravestone photo

I’d never met any of my grandparents, I was born well after all four had died. I have a faint, out of focus, and oddly-angled picture of my dad’s parents, and some lovely photos of my mom’s mother. So I had an idea of how they looked. But for everywhere I’ve looked and asked, no picture ever seemed to exist of my mom’s father, John Plenzler. I imagined he looked like his mother or father, and I have my great-grandparents’ wedding photo. But you can never be too sure if one does favor one parent or the other. I have a daughter who does not look like me or her sisters, she favors her father’s side of the family greatly. She definitely resembles her father’s sister in a striking manner in my eyes. On first look, she does not seem to be my daughter. But she is (and she inherited much of my personality). Sometimes, genes mix in unique ways to present a new version within the family.

I had always been curious about John’s appearance, so imagine my surprise when I received, thanks to the efforts of a cousin and his son, John Plenzler’s “Descriptive Book” that records elements of his enlistment in the Marines. I was mildly surprised and also began to see that it was possible that my mother resembled him much more than her mother.

According to a description based upon a physical examination of John dated August 4, 1909, he was described as having a ruddy complexion, dark brown hair, light brown eyes, about 5′ 7″ tall, and it seemed slender–he was described as having a mean circumference of 35″, with a 3″ expansion and a weight of only 139 pounds. I suspect he may have been a fairly muscular man–he was a street paver prior to enlisting in the Marines, that would have meant hours of physical labor. Based on this, he may have resembled his father–who in his wedding picture seemed to have met these descriptions as well. My mother was not a tall person, perhaps 5′-2″. I would not have described her complexion as ruddy, but fair and she had dark hair. But she had blue eyes. So I’m going to guess my grandmother Anastasia had blue eyes.

John also had some minor physical marks or distinctions noted on his record–a deformed small toe on his left foot, a scar on his hand, and a few moles. He also had 20/20 vision.

Seems as if I got few Plenzler genes reading this! I have poor vision (have had since I was a small child), light hair, blue eyes, and about as tall as my grandfather. I know in reality, I have half Plenzler and half Mierzjewski genes. But it just looks as if the Mierzejewski genes are dominant. Still, I wanted to find a way to “connect” with my grandfather, and this was an interesting document to read to do so–he died when my mom was quite young, so she didn’t have many memories of him and didn’t seem to have any photos of him when asked.

I think what I did find more interesting about John was his history in the Marines. There was no bravado, no battles he participated in that I know of, but within his history of good conduct one incident stood out. He was court marshaled for being AWOL for a day after liberty and returning to duty drunk. By virtue of a plea, he was sentenced to loss of 18 days’ pay and to perform extra police duties for the period of a month. The loss of pay equaled $10.62. I haven’t calculated what that would be worth 100 years later, but I suspect it to be considerable.

John Plenzler Duty List

John Plenzler Duty List

John was discharged with a notation of “very good” character and had made up the loss of one day to AWOL status. Upon his discharge, his commanding officer noted “character very good instead of excellent because of two trials by court marshal and not recommended for good conduct medal.”

The document is scanned and posted here if anyone is interested in reviewing it.

Happy New Year! May your year be blessed, peaceful, and filled with contentment.

So…today, I make up for lost time with an additional post. I apologize, but I just haven’t had the time to keep up with the genealogy work this year. I don’t foresee the next year providing me with much time, either. But I intend to make the most of the time I do have available!

While visiting Calvary Cemetery this past July, I did some row mowing with the camera. I had found a Jankowski grave that I cannot identify. I am related to some Jankowskis through my mother–two daughters of Martin Plenzler, Edna and Florence,  had married Stanley Jankowski. Florence had married Stanley first, they had three daughters. Then after Florence had passed away and Edna was widowed (Edna’s first husband was Danny Sieja), Edna and Stanley had married. So when I encountered this stone in Calvary, I was intrigued. However, no matter how hard I tried, I could not identify the persons buried there. It seems the stone sunk enough to cover the names of those it is memorializing.

The grave is located in Section 25. If you can identify these persons, please feel free to contact me here.

unknown_jankowski

Unknown Jankowski grave, Calvary Cemetery Toledo, Section 25

For quite sometime, we had been waiting for my parents’ gravestones to be placed. For quite some time, my father never had a gravestone–his original military stone had been broken and removed and when mom passed, we had planned to put matching stones on their graves. Well, time passed and the family had ordered the stones and we had never followed up with the cemetery. The stones had been delayed being placed, bad weather, warehouse mix ups, and a few other things occurred. So, this summer, when I had gone up to Toledo for a quick visit, I thought I would stop and check whether the stones had been placed and they had. I had taken photos but somehow neglected placing the photos here. Communication with a possible Mierzejewski contact this afternoon had reminded me that I had never placed the photos here.

Here are the photos of the stones. For me, it’s a sense of peace knowing my parents have a small reminder of their presence in this world.

Image

Edward B. Mierzejewski

gr_virginia_mierzejewski

Virginia Plenzler Mierzejewski

Going through my Calvary photos has been at times tedious (verify the location, name and maiden name), tiresome (crop, color balance, re-size), and irksome (get the photo loaded in my editor, get halfway through the edits, I get distracted, cat walks over computer, crash).

But sometimes, it produces some interesting information that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

My 2nd great-grandmother’s name was Mary Lesiecki, who married Joseph Plenzler. There is no small amount of information available on the Plenzlers–but never yet have I found a Lesiecki. As near as I can tell, from her marriage record to Joseph, she was very likely born around 1825 or 1826.

I’ll admit, I haven’t spent much effort yet attempting to trace the Lesiecki name. But a very curious thing occurred today while I was going through my photos. Whenever possible, I verify the burial by trying to locate a death record and then cross-referencing Calvary’s burial records. So, I had a photo for a John Jagodzinski’s grave. My due diligence provides me a bit of interesting information from John’s death certificate: His mother’s name was Veronica Lesiecki!

Another connection? I don’t know. A clue, and perhaps a valuable one! I may not be remembering correctly, but it seems to me that when I was much younger, there was a Jagodzinski Funeral Home? Does anyone remember such?

and I know you’re out there–I’ve communicated with a few of you. (Paul Jankowski at jankowskis.com!)

I recently corresponded with Fr. Tom Extejt who kindly leaves tidbits of knowledge here in the comments. He’s filled us in with a bit of his family. So I thought perhaps this post may connect a few others researching the Jankowskis. I’m not related to many, mainly through marriage (two of Martin Plenzler’s daughters, Edna and Florence, married a Jankowski).

I thought however that I would share Fr. Extejt’s story of his Jankowski connections and of his great-great-grandmother, Dorota Jankowski. If anyone has additional information, let me know here via comment or via email and I will pass it along to him.

Fr. Extejt’s great-aunt on his mother’s father’s side, Katarzyna Rejent, married Marcin Jankowski.

They are buried in Section 33 of Calvary. She died in 1937; he died in 1943. Their children were Florian (Jonesey), who never married, and Martha Jankowska Kaczorowska. So far, there is no known husband’s name or if there are any children or what their names could be.

Father also recently learned that the maiden name of his great-great-grandmother, Dorota Extejt, was Jankowska. Her place of birth is not known, nor are her parents’ names known. But per Fr. Extejt,

“she was born 2-5-1796 and died on 2-2-1902. So she almost made it to her 106th birthday, having lived in parts of 3 centuries, from the last days of George Washington’s second term to the early part of the Theodore Roosevelt administration. She was 80 years old when the came to Toledo, and liked it so well she stayed for almost 26 years! Her obit was the headline story on Page 1 of the Blade; it mentioned that she went to the January ’02 Rosary-Altar meeting at St. Anthony’s, went to Mass the Sunday before she died, and helped with the housework until 48 hours before she died. Talk about an iron constitution!”

What a wonderful story! If you have details, please feel free to share. If you email, I will follow up as soon as possible, usually within a few days.

I’m trying to dig out from an overwhelming amount of information I’ve received over the summer on the Plenzlers as well as still work through the backlog of Calvary Cemetery photos I have. So, today, we’re revisiting an earlier post about my 2nd great-grandfather’s father, that of Joseph Plenzler (husband of Mary Lesiecka). Bear with the wordy sentences when I describe these relationship, but my great-great grandfather and his sons and grandsons all had the same names as well as named their offspring similarly.  So it gets tedious at times.

Long story short, this is a follow up to an earlier post, located here:

http://kuschwantz.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/marianna-lesiecka-and-andreas-hirsch-more-puzzle-pieces/

Bartholomeus married a Barbara Hirsch in Czapury, Wielkopolskie, Poland, on 14 July 1850.  Marriage was witnessed by Andreas Plenzler, who likely is a brother to Bartholomeus and Joseph and Gregorious Demel, both of Wiorek.  Barbara is noted as “vidua” or widowed. Age of the groom is 25, age of the bride is 30. This is Bartholomeus’ first marriage.

Pertinent snippets from the marriage record are below. Click to enlarge.

Bartholomeus Plenzler and Barbara Hirsch marriage record 14 July 1850

Bartholomeus Plenzler and Barbara Hirsch marriage record 14 July 1850

Bartholomeus Plenzler and Barbara Hirsch marriage record 14 July 1850

Bartholomeus Plenzler and Barbara Hirsch marriage record 14 July 1850

Many thanks to Jim and Cinny Sobieski for their hard work and efforts with the Plenzler family! Time and again, I’m awed at the generosity of genealogy community.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 248 other followers